Catherine McAuley, an Irish Catholic laywoman, recognized the many needs of people who were economically poor in early nineteenth century Ireland and was determined that she and women like herself could do several things to relieve their suffering. With an inheritance, she opened the first House of Mercy on Lower Baggot Street in Dublin, Ireland, on September 24, 1827, as a place to shelter, feed and educate women and young girls.
Catherine's original intention was to assemble a lay corps of Catholic social workers. Impressed by her good works and wanting the work to continue after her death, the Archbishop of Dublin suggested that she establish a religious congregation.
On December 12, 1831, Catherine and two companions took their religious vows and returned to Baggot Street as the first Sisters of Mercy.
The Sisters of Mercy quickly spread throughout the globe establishing convents in the Americas, Australia, Great Britain, Ireland, New Zealand, Newfoundland, and the Philippines. In each of these areas they continued Catherine’s mission serving the economically disadvantaged and doing the work of mercy and justice. In 1843, the Sisters of Mercy came to the United States at the request of the Bishop of Pittsburg. By 1854, they had settled in New York and San Francisco, establishing schools and hospitals.
Today, the Sisters of Mercy are in 47 countries, working in a multitude of ministries with an ever growing group of associates, volunteers and partners all continuing the spirit of Catherine McAuley. The Sisters sponsor sixty schools in over twenty states in the United States, one territory, and six countries which are all part of the Mercy Educational Network.
Click here to learn more about the Sisters of Mercy.
Click here to learn about The Network for Mercy Education System of the Americas (aka "MESA)"